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Jewish Groups Hit State Dept. for Criticism of Israel, Silence on El Al Attack

Jewish organizations issued statements today accusing the State Department of bias against Israel for condemning the Israeli raid last night on the Beirut Airport while remaining silent concerning the Arab guerrilla attack on an El Al airliner Thursday at Athens Airport. Among the protesting organizations were the Zionist Organization of America, the American Jewish Congress, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations, the Rabbinical Council of America and the New York Board of Rabbis.

Jacques Torczyner, ZOA president, said that “silence toward the Arabs and criticism toward Israel” was hardly an example of “even-handedness.” He charged that the State Department was trying to undermine the agreement for the sale of 50 Phantom jet aircraft to Israel, declaring that completion of the agreement was needed to reduce “the tremendous imbalance between Egypt’s military airpower and that of Israel.”

Rabbi Arthur J. Lelyveld, president of the American Jewish Congress, said that “the proper function” of the State Department at this time was “to demand that the Arab Governments stop offering encouragement, hospitality and support of those terrorist forces whose wanton disregard for human life threatens to plunge the Middle East into still another round of war.”

Rabbi Joseph Karasick, president of the UOJC, said that the State Department should show the same sensitivity toward dangers to Israel from the Arabs as it did for the feelings of the Arab rulers. Rabbi Zev Segal, president of the Orthodox rabbinical group, accused the State Department of lacking objectivity. He said his organization was “astonished” at the contrast between the quick condemnation of Israel and the silence on the Athens attack.

Rabbi Gilbert Klaperman, president of the New York Board of Rabbis, said in a telegram to Secretary of State Dean Rusk, that the State Department was showing “incomprehensible bias” against Israel in the two incidents. Rabbi Klaperman said in the telegram that Israel could not continue to be “a sitting duck everywhere for terrorist activities while the nations of the world refuse to deal with the problem.”

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